Start the Weekend With a Four-Pack of Winners

Troy Haliburton

Friday, November 17, 2017 5:05 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 5:05 PM UTC

Busy night Friday on the NBA hardwood with 22 of the league's 30 teams in action and two national TV games. Our resident handicapper has four matchups he likes in particular.

Heat at Wizards

The Wizards beat the Heat 102-93 on Wednesday to snap a five-game losing streak to the Heat. Washington is in the midst of a four game winning streak and will look to stack another win in order to keep up with the top of the Eastern Conference. If Miami wants to stay competitive in this game, it will have to figure out a way to slow down the Wizards’ dynamic duo in the backcourt. John Wall and Bradley Beal had 27 and 26 points, respectively, to dominate the Heat. Beal did his damage getting to the free throw line 14 times and hitting 13. Wall was able to dribble drive and score at the basket or dish to his open teammates.

Miami will certainly have to shoot the ball better than the 41% from the field it shot in the first meeting. Cutting down on the 17 turnovers will probably help too. The reason why Miami had so much success against the Wizards in years past is because of the advantage at the center position. Hassan Whiteside dominated his matchup with Marcin Gortat once again in the last game, scoring 14 points and grabbing 21 rebounds. Some of Whiteside’s advantage is negated because Miami started Justise Winslow at power forward, and he was at a major disadvantage trying to stay with Markieff Morris all night. Expect Miami to switch out Winslow and go back to James Johnson to give it a little more size in the front court.

Free NBA Pick: Heat +5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Clippers at Cavaliers

Cleveland is coming off of back to back wins over the Knicks and Hornets, where LeBron James put on a talent display that leaves little debate as to whom is the best player in the NBA. James takes pride in being able to unify a whole new cast of characters and lead them through the beginning portion of the season. The Cavs have the luxury of knowing that help is on the way in the form of Isaiah Thomas, and that he will be able to cut down on James' league-leading 42 minutes per game.

The thing about the Cavs is that they know that they are a team in this season for the long haul, so it is much more important for them to be peaking in April, rather than November. There is still a baseline level of production that must come from the Cavs in order to be best positioned in the postseason. In order to maintain that baseline level, the Cavs have to start playing better against inferior opponents. The Clippers with all of their injuries are clearly an inferior team to Cleveland at home.

Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari are expected to be out again, and that leaves a lot of pressure on Blake Griffin to single-handedly lead the Clips to victory.

Free NBA Pick: Cavs -6.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Thunder at Spurs

Just as the Thunder are finally figuring out a hierarchy in the grand scheme of their team dynamics, here come the defensive-minded Spurs to completely disrupt that. OKC has finally realized that Paul George is probably its best player and should be getting the majority of the offensive isolation plays, while Russ Westbrook is the dynamic playmaker who sets everything up, and Carmelo Anthony is relegated to glorified spot-up shooter. If the Thunder have really come to this realization as an organization, then it will be able to build on their defined roles and actually grow together as a team. If they deviate from that blueprint, than they will only be setting themselves up for more of the same bad results.

The Spurs are the Spurs. Even without their Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, the Spurs are the model of consistency in the NBA. Spread the ball on offense and keep the ball moving until you find the open man sounds so simple as a game plan, but GregG Popovich has the discipline to make it work. San Antonio really makes its impact on the defensive end where the Spurs are once again ranked in the top five in scoring defense.

The Thunder are right there with the Spurs, in fact they are ranked No. 2 in scoring defense, only allowing 97.1 points per game to opponents.  This game will be a defensive battle that the Thunder should win if they stick to their winning blueprint.

Free NBA Picks: Thunder -1 & Under 197.5Best Line Offered: BetDSI

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Suns at Lakers

The Lakers are coming into this game with only six wins and two of those have come against Phoenix. The Lakers have the Suns' number and large in part because Lonzo Ball feels comfortable playing against the Suns point guards. Lonzo stands at 6-foot-7 and has a distinct height advantage over Suns point guards Tyler Ulyis and Mike James, who are both under 6 feet. Ball had his best game as a pro against the Suns in the first meeting, where he had 29 points 11 rebounds and nine assists.

The Suns are coming off a straight embarrassment of a game on national television where they gave up 90 first-half points to the Houston Rockets. There was at least one silver lining to that loss, and that was seeing Greg Monroe make his Suns debut. The former Georgetown product had 20 points and 11 rebounds against Houston and certainly established himself as a player who deserves more opportunities from interim head coach Jay Triano.

Look for Devin Booker to continue his hot shooting after scoring 36 points last night and to put up a big night on a Los Angeles team ill-equipped to handle a guard of his prowess.

Free NBA Pick: Suns +7Best Line Offered: JustBet

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